The dashiki, a part of the Intsinzi Collection from Rwanda design studio, Moshions, first appeared on a catwalk in Kigali five years ago and is now part of a visually stunning exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum entitled ‘Africa Fashion’. These and many more garments have made their way to the acclaimed museum. The exhibition includes fashion pieces that range from eye-catching costumes and gowns to ordinary workday dresses. The success of the African Fashion Exhibition enforces the point that fashion is not solely the likes of European design houses like Coco Chanel or Christian Dior; that any list of global fashion shows and displays should include African designers.
The museum is also making amends for failures in its own collecting and curating practices that have left vast gaps in its previous offerings around African culture and design. Exhibit curator Christine Checinka who has worked as a designer at several major British fashion labels has been tasked with expanding the Victoria and Albert museum’s permanent collection of African and African diaspora textiles and fashion.
She mentions that there is need to have a broader vocabulary of culture when creating all across the board. She hopes that the show manages to inspire and encourage visitors from all backgrounds and also to offer a glimpse of what she describes as ‘the genius of African creativity that all too often has been left out’.